Ex-Chorley bus depot to make way for care and community development
The site of a former bus depot in Chorley is set to be transformed into a combined care facility and community hub, as part of a major revamp of the area where it will be built.
A development of 62 assisted living apartments will be created following the demolition of the ex-Stagecoach base on Eaves Lane, after plans were given the green light by Chorley Council’s planning committee.
The so-called “extra care” scheme will sit at the heart of a new three-storey building which will also house a community centre and nursery - replacing existing facilities on the wider site - along with a GP surgery, pharmacy, cafe and hair salon.
Tatton recreation ground, backing onto the plot, will also undergo a facelift - featuring new children’s play areas, a multi-use games site, sensory wellbeing garden, new entrance plaza and a looped path to help users navigate the redesigned space.
A report to committee members stated that the development - proposed by the council itself - would be “a vast improvement to the existing dilapidated buildings that are due to be demolished”, which include a bowling club hut.
However, almost a dozen locals objected to the scheme - and one of them told councillors that the building was excessive and would “stick out like a sore thumb”.
Karen Sutcliffe said that the plans did not include “anywhere near enough parking” and would lead to surrounding streets - where residents already found it impossible to park - being overwhelmed with vehicles.
“The whole proposal needs a serious rethink and to be scaled back - it’s way too ambitious,” Ms. Sutcliffe added.
However, the agent for the application, Harvinder Randhawa, said that the plans “maintained and enhanced” existing on-street car parking and maximised the number of spaces within the development itself.
He said that the new building would become a “cornerstone of the built environment” and provide much-needed modern space for the community centre and nursery, which were currently operating from “outdated” facilities.
The care facility will be based on the model adopted by a similar development just a mile away at Primrose Gardens on Fleet Street.
Residents will have their own individual apartments, but will benefit from access to communal areas and 24-hour on-site support - as well as pre-planned care packages.
The scheme secured £5.5m from the government’s Getting Building Fund over the summer, after the council identified it as one of the “shovel-ready” projects that could help kickstart the economy.
Committee member Martin Boardman said that he was “wholly supportive” of the development, but urged the authority to go back to the drawing board over the scale of the “monolithic structure” it had proposed.
“It would be more at home in Salford or Manchester than Chorley. This building dwarfs [the surrounding] small, two-storey terrace houses,” Cllr Boardman said.
However, Cllr Alistair Morwood cautioned against "thinking that we can build as we did centuries ago”.
“The assisted-living flats are needed, there is a waiting list...and it’s very important this accommodation comes along.
“I accept that it’s slightly out of scale, but on reflection, I think the benefits outweigh [that]”.
That was also the conclusion of planning officers who recommended councillors approve the scheme - whilst acknowledging that it would inevitably “result in some overshadowing and impact on outlook for the occupiers” of nearby houses.
The committee supported the application by a majority, with only Cllr Boardman voting against.
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